It’s almost always true that your most profitable clients are the ones who stick around for the long-term. Not only will they themselves make many repeat purchases from you, but they are highly likely to recommend you to other too, which means long-term customers really can be quite lucrative. That’s why it’s so important that you do everything you can to keep them.
To help you with your customer retention, here are a few things that are guaranteed to drive your customers away:
High Staff Turnover
You might think that your long-term customers keep coming back just for the excellent products and services you offer, but they probably don’t. Sure, they probably wouldn’t keep returning if your products weren’t good, but there are always alternatives, and what actually keeps a lot of customers coming back time and time again is the staff.
You see, customers build relationships with the people they buy from, and they get to trust them over a period of time, If then, you have a high turnover of staff, or you rotate your employees, so that they’re never doing the same job for very long, you could well drive some of your best customers away and that would be a very foolish thing indeed.
You Treat Your New Customers Better
So many companies do this, and it really drives me crazy! They offer all kinds of fancy new promotions and discounts to get new customers through the door, completely ignoring their loyal, long-term customers in the process.
You might think that it makes sense to offer a few carrots to get new customers through the door, and maybe it does, but by excluding your existing customers, all you do is build resentment and send them looking for similar products or services elsewhere.
You Care More about Price than Value
Although setting low prices will undoubtedly help your business in the short-term it is unlikely to do so for long. There are always other businesses willing to undercut the competition and steal their business away. That is why, if you’re too focused on keeping customers with low prices, you probably won’t succeed. What you should concentrate on instead is value. If you can offer your customers more value by using a customer service app to give them better service, doing things quickly and offering a fair price, for example, you’re much more likely to keep them for the long term. So, take your focus off promoting price and promote all the extra` value your company, and your products, offer.
You’re Too Pushy
Your long-term customers might be of the most value to you, but that doesn’t mean you should harass them with sales letters, emails and telephone calls all the time. What you should do, is set up a system that enables you to identify when a product or service might be of interest to your customers and only then, get in touch with them. Customers really don’t like to feel like they’re being pushed to make a purchase, and they might just go elsewhere if they think that’s what you’re doing, so be sure to educate your sales team about subtly selling.
You Take Them for Granted
Most businesses have a core of customers who they know will always be interested in their products or services, and it can be easy to take these people for granted, but it would be a mistake to do so.
Every business should maintain a database of its best customers and not only ensure that they get gold-plated service, but also that they are kept in the loop about latest developments, special offers and anything else that could benefit them. Obviously, you need to do this without pushing products on them, as discussed above.
You Reward Staff for New Customers
There is nothing wrong with rewarding your staff for bringing new customers on board and selling them your goods and services, in fact, it’s imminently sensible to do so, but you shouldn’t make it more attractive for an employee to target new customers than old ones. If you do that, there will be much less of an incentive for your staff to take proper care of your most valued long-term clients and they might just take their business elsewhere because of this.
You Don’t Deal with Their Problems Effectively
No matter how well you run your business or how well trained your employees are, there are always going to be times when problems arise, and your long-term customers are not happy. When this happens, it really is vitally important that you do everything you can to fix that problem fast. A good way to ensure this happens is to give your employees more leeway to deal with complaints and problems as they see fit. There’s nothing more frustrating than talking to a customer service rep who’s reading off a script and sticks rigidly to the guidelines, even when they don’t provide a true solution. Don’t subject your customer to this and trust your employees to do the right thing. Fixing a problem quickly will never lose you a customer, but shoddy service absolutely will!
You Don’t Work on Your Products
Whether you sell web design services or ladies shoes, you have absolutely no hope of retaining customers for the long term if you don’t innovate. There are only so many times someone is going to come back to you for exactly the same thing before they decide to go elsewhere. So, even if your current products and services sell well, make it a priority to review them and see what else you could be offering to make your company more attractive than the competition.
You Don’t Offer Any Perks
Your loyal customers should be rewarded for sticking by you, so offer them discounts when it’s their birthday, using software to help you keep track, let them try out new products before they officially go on sale and maybe even run a competition or two for them. Sure, it’ll cost you a little, but in the long-term, it could make you a lot of money!